Philip Verant Simmons
April 18, 1963, Arima, Trinidad
Right hand bat
Right arm medium
Phil Simmons was an explosive Trinidadian allrounder whose Test record does him no sort of justice. His one Test hundred came against tough opposition at Melbourne in 1992-93, but he made just four other fifties from his 26 starts, most of them as opener. His finest achievement was probably taking Leicestershire to the County Championship with a towering season in 1996, when he collected 1244 runs and 56 wickets - and 35 catches, most of which landed in his bucket-sized hands at slip. Usually a medium-pacer, Simmons bowled quickly that year, reportedly outpacing Devon Malcolm on their one meeting. As a youngster on the 1988 West Indian tour of England, Simmons was hit on the head by David Lawrence in fading light at Bristol: his heart stopped and he needed emergency brain surgery before making a full recovery. He went into coaching, landing the poison chalice of looking after Zimbabwe. Inevitably it ended in tears, and he was sacked in August 2005 amid reports that he was too nice to handle the cut and thrust of running an international side. But a new opportunity arose two years later when he was appointed Ireland's head coach after the 2007 World Cup.
Will Luke, May 2007
His time coaching Ireland propelled the country to new heights. Victories over England at the 2011 World Cup and West Indies and Zimbabwe at the 2015 edition were the product of a new wave of professionalism implemented during his eight years at the helm that contributed largely toward Ireland eventually being awarded Test status in 2017.
At the end of the 2015 World Cup, he departed amicably from his job with Ireland to take on the challenge of restoring West Indies to the greatness of his own days with the side. However, it proved to be a turbulent 18-month tenure. Six months into the job, he was suspended after making comments criticizing 'outside influence' in the ODI squad selection process for a tour of Sri Lanka.
He was reinstated six weeks later in November 2015 and just a few months later experienced his greatest coaching success as the West Indies won their second World T20 in India. But a year after his suspension, he was sacked for good due to "differences in culture and strategic approach".
Simmons then went back to his bread and butter of helping out a country on the rise joining Afghanistan initially in a consultancy role in early 2017 and they tapped into his knowledge base to rout Ireland that March in Greater Noida. By the end of the year, he had been hired to take over as head coach on a permanent basis tasked with leading them at the qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup as well as their entry into Test cricket against India.
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